Listen Closely: 1979-1980 Catches Up to Us
The film Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten was on cable recently, and I was lucky enough to catch it. First, I love the Clash and Strummer’s work in general. The film traces his history, and the story about how he and his views evolved is rather interesting.
For example, in one period, Strummer and his friends squatted as a political statement. With so many people homeless, vacant buildings were offensive to them. I wonder whether the rising foreclosure and unemployment rates will produce similar sentiments today? Who knows? Maybe one way to address the so-called toxic assets (one of the great euphemisms of late) is to have the government buy up the houses and use them as public housing. Heck if California is spending on building prisons, why not take funds to give people some succor and save the absurd policies of the banks too?
Second, close your door, turn up the volume to full, maybe even blow out your speakers, and take a listen a truly great song, London Calling. The Imeem embed below plays a clip only but go to the site and you can login to hear it all. YouTube has the video (embed disabled). (so much for punk freedom I guess)
Here is the chorus:
The ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in
Engines stop running and the wheat is growing thin
A nuclear error, but I have no fear
London is drowning-and I live by the river
Sound familiar? Ice age? Astronomical disasters? Energy problems? Food problems? Floods? The verses are great too as they capture decline, violence, and manic energy.
Eternal bloody return.
In the film Strummer explains that the number of ways the world was to end made him put them into one mix with the odd solace that by living near the Thames he might drown anyway.